By Jason Schmidt
Akshay Kulkarni wasn’t winning any awards as an undergraduate engineering student at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology (CBIT) in Hyderabad, India. All he had to show for his effort was a mediocre grade point average and growing skepticism focused on how his college degree would eventually help his future aspirations.
“Out of 400,000 seats available for engineers at colleges in my state,” says Kulkarni, “there were only 200,000 people even trying to get into those seats.” Although it was extremely easy to get an opportunity to earn an engineering degree in India, Kulkarni knew that landing a good engineering job was actually increasingly difficult.
Kulkarni understood that there had to be a way to differentiate himself from the thousands of other minnows floundering in the job market. Frustrated by the overall climate and structure of his undergraduate experience, he sought out a different avenue toward his future career: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
“I ended up taking something like 15 MOOC courses while completing my engineering degree,” says Kulkarni, noting that he focused almost exclusively on the MOOC educational alternative instead of attempting to get As in his in-person courses at CBIT.
The big moment for Kulkarni, who now works as a software engineer at Microsoft, came when he realized his path less traveled actually worked. “My MOOC experiences made a big impact in my interview with Microsoft. I think my online courses and certificates helped to compensate for my low grade point average in engineering school. The Microsoft interviewer asked me, ‘Do you know anything about cloud computing?’ and I was like ‘I just TA’ed for a MOOC cloud computing course at Berkeley.’ That was the last cloud computing question I got asked.”
And Kulkarni isn’t alone.
[ Full article available at Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/schmittjason/2016/08/25/the-philippines-and-other-developing-countries-ramp-up-online-education-culture/#1be9746266e5 ]